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Teaching Writing With Laptops. By Christopher Dean. What are Wireless Laptop Labs. A wireless laptop lab uses wireless networking cards to allow students to use computers for learning in a flexible way

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Teaching Writing With Laptops

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Teaching writing with laptops l.jpg

Teaching Writing With Laptops

By Christopher Dean


What are wireless laptop labs l.jpg

What are Wireless Laptop Labs

  • A wireless laptop lab uses wireless networking cards to allow students to use computers for learning in a flexible way

  • Many a lab is literally pulled out of a cart (see below), and then computers are put to use by students—as below.

Laptop Cart

Student User


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Why Wireless Labs?

  • Wireless labs allow flexibility to use computers in ways that make sense to students and teachers.

  • You want to use computers, particularly for teaching writing, for the reasons listed below:

    • “That typically reticent students--women, minority students, and anxious or shy learners--tend to participate in the discussion more readily and more abundantly” (Beauvois).

    • “Students and teachers also enjoy this method of communication and evaluate it positively” (Beauvois).


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Why Wireless Laptops Parte Duex

Allowing folks to use computers that they control allows them to make use of what Joseph Walters, quoting Howard Gardner, calls multiple intelligences. Those original seven intelligences (they're up to eight now in teacher-education literature) are, as defined by Gardner, are:

  • Linguistic intelligence (click on the text to left to learn more),

  • Logical-mathematical intelligence (click on the text to left to learn more), ,

  • Spatial intelligence (click on the text to left to learn more), ,

  • Musical intelligence (click on the text to left to learn more), ,

  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence (click on the text to left to learn more),

  • Interpersonal intelligence (click on the text to left to learn more), and

  • Intrapersonal intelligence (click on the text to left to learn more), .

    These intelligences allow folks to learn in ways that make sense to them.


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What Does it Look Like to Teach and Learn Writing with Wireless Laptops?

  • Teaching and learning in a wireless setting allows for group work .

  • It also allows for solo work.

Ultimately it allows folks learn about writing as they need to—without having to maneuver around computers that are bolted to the floor.


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What Tools Get Used?

  • When I’ve taught I’ve used the following tools:

    • Message boards,

    • Chatrooms,

    • Online Library Databases,

    • And The World Wide Web itself.

  • The end result is that writing happens in all of these environments, with students getting experience in all manner of writing, and it’s fun too!


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What Do Students Think of All of This?

  • Honestly, they seem to enjoy the work, and a little bit of an article I wrote (you can read all of it here), points this out:

    • “Students mentioned their enjoyment of using threaded discussions and chat generally; although some said that they still preferred talking face-to-face. I also asked them what they had noticed that was different about the wireless lab compared to the desktop lab we had worked in previously. One student raised his hand and said, "I could see people's faces” (Dean).

A Happy Student

Happy Students


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What Do I Think of All of This?

  • Again, quoting from an earlier piece I wrote, here are my main reasons:

    • “From my perspective, being able to make eye contact, move about the room, and float between computer-mediated and oral discourse is very important because it allows teacher and students to learn course content using intelligences that they are comfortable with” (Dean).

    • “Also, it allows me to engage in my preferred teaching intelligence/modality: what I think of as an intelligent e-pedagogy. This intelligent e-pedagogy describes what I try to do as a classroom teacher. I teach students situated in a real physical space how to engage in electronic and oral discourse. That's my goal, my mission, if you well” (Dean).


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What Do You Think of All of This?

  • Since you, as students in an online class, are uniquely placed to think about face-to-face vs. all online work, what do you think of conducting a class where we don’t see each other? If you want to answer this question, send Chris an email ([email protected]), and we can chat about this.

  • I really would love to know what you think of your experience and this presentation. Also, if you want to think about the broader implications of what I’ve presented here, check out this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gmP4nk0EOE&eurl=


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Works Cited

Beauvois, Margaret Healy. "Conversations in Slow Motion: Computer-mediated Communication in the Foreign Language Classroom." Canadian Modern Language Review, 54.2 (Jan 98) Online. EBSCOhost. <http://0-web5.epnet.com.csulib.ctstateu.edu> 9 February 2007.

Dean, Christopher, Will Hochman, Carra Hood, and Bob McEachern. "Proposal for Computerized Writing Instruction at SCSU." Will Hochman ~ SCSU Associate Professor & Technology Coordinator of English. < http://www.southernct.edu/~hochman/Laptoplabproposal> 9 February 2007.

Walters, Joseph. "Application of Multiple Intelligences Research in Alternative Assessment." Paper presented at the Second National Research Symposium on Limited English Proficient Student Issues: Focus on Evaluation and Measurement.OBEMLA, 1992. Available < http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/ncbepubs/symposia/second/vol1/application.htm>. 9 February 2007


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